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Home > Renewable Energy > Biodiesel Program > Biodiesel Task Force > Meeting Minutes - July 17, 2013

Biodiesel Task Force Meeting Minutes - July 17, 2013

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM.
Orville L. Freeman Building, Room B555

Members present: Ralph Groschen, Ron Marr, Kelly Marczak, Doug Root, Chris Hill, Dustin Haaland, Darrick Zahrling, Kevin Paap, Gary Wertish, Kevin Thoma, John Hausladen, Brett Webb, Scott Hedderich

Members on teleconference: Bruce Heine, Steve Rupp

The members of the task force introduced themselves.

New chairperson Ron Marr called the meeting to order at 10:00 AM. Commissioner Frederickson thanked Kelly Marczak for her service as chairperson for the past two years and welcomed Ron as the new chairperson. He also set the tone for the meeting – presenting the task of evaluating the four conditions in MS § 239.77, subdivision 2(b)(1)-(4) that need to be met in order for the commissioners of agriculture, commerce and pollution control to authorize the implementation of the B10 mandate that had been originally scheduled to take effect on May 1, 2012.

Ron had our guests in the room introduce themselves.

Steve Howell from Marc IV and the National Biodiesel Board (who was on the phone) gave an overview of the biodiesel industry through a PowerPoint slide presentation. The PowerPoint file will be posted to the meeting link on the MDA website.

Jason Harms gave an update (Jason was also on the phone) for the Harms Oil biodiesel blending facility in Sioux Falls, SD. The year-round blending facility was installed late last fall. There are 150-200 drivers carded to load there. Jason commented that there should not be any problem with supply when stepping up to a B10 from their facility nor issue with their capacity to supply mandate-compliant fuel for southwest Minnesota. Blending volumes have moved from thousands of gallons a month to tens of thousands per month. Jason complemented Westmor Fluid Solutions who put the structure together for helping overcome obstacles as the system has progressed with increased gallons of fuel dispensed.

Western Petroleum commented that they have also supplied biodiesel blends through the NuStar terminal in Sioux Falls.

Steve Harrington reported for MN Weights and Measures on new legislation passed this past spring (HF634 – handout also available). It changes the delivery ticket requirements so the biodiesel component needs to be reported. It is a new tool that the agency has not had much of a chance to utilize yet but is looking forward to implementing.

Brett Webb asked for more details on the ticket requirements. Kevin Thoma commented that all tickets now need to be documented with their biodiesel content – these are metered tickets (in addition to the bill of lading, which already had the biodiesel content). Before the biodiesel percentage was only required on the metering ticket if it was above the 5% blend. A discussion ensued about the specifics of how the ticketing would now work and how it would be different from what has been practiced previously.

Chairperson Marr began the discussion of going through the four statutory requirements necessary to move from B5 to B10:

  1. Steve Howell commented that the condition of existing ASTM standards for fuel and that that condition has been met.
  2. Production capacity of 63 mgy more than covers the necessary capacity for the additional biodiesel needed as estimated from projected 600 million gallons of diesel fuel use that requires biodiesel blending for Minnesota. Actual production is even more than the 63 million gallons.
  3. Blending capacity has now reached an adequate state in southwestern Minnesota. For the regulatory side, Steve Harrington covered that ticketing has been covered. When the quality was questioned, Steve responded that B100 quality is only measured in the case of complaints or concerns. Scott Hedderich added that to qualify for the RFS program regular testing to show compliance with the ASTM standard is done by the plants, in addition to testing for the BQ9000 biodiesel quality program. Cloud point is monitored on a commercial basis – Magellan has limits on cloud point in winter, for example. John Hausladen shared that for the past winter his members reported little to no problems with fuel and that he theorized this could be for one of three major reasons: (1) plants fuel quality is high; (2) fuel suppliers are using additives to maintain quality fuel; and/or (3) truckers are avoiding MN fuel because it contains biodiesel (or other possibilities he had not included). He shared parts of a survey he gave his members last fall (about 65 trucking companies) and when asking if they fueled outside MN to avoid biodiesel, 53% reported yes; when asked if biodiesel affected the base cost of their fuel 59% responded that it increased their costs.
  4. REG now has the capacity to work with multi-feedstock and will use at least the 5% required. The Ever Cat plant is using exclusively alternative feedstocks to soybean oil. Doug Root pointed out that Ever Cat’s production covers the 5% quantity.

Ron Marr summed up that it appears that their is agreement that the four conditions have been met.

Open comments:

Steve Kaari reported on Metro Transit’s step up to B20 in fueling metro buses. He said they support the use of higher biodiesel blends while it is economically feasible. One dispenser can run through 10,000 gallons a week at one of their central locations, and they, as they have stepped up to B10 this summer, have experienced filter-plugging problems. They are currently using 10 micron, non-water blocking filters, and need to change these filters weekly (Steve has a picture of a plugged filter). Hoon Ge of MEG Corporation has been working with Steve on troubleshooting these issues. Metro Transit is planning to move up to B20 throughout its fleet this summer. Kevin Thoma asked Steve what were the driving forces in moving to B20 – Steve replied economics and as a state run organization, going green. When pressed about the economics turning unfavorable, Steve said that in that case they would not support higher blends.


Assistant Commissioner Charlie Poster told the task force that Commissioner Frederickson would now be meeting with the commissioners of commerce and pollution control regarding the B10 mandate.

John Hausladen addressed the Department of Commerce’s price disparity report, and asked that the commissioners look at that also when considering a move to B10.

With that, the meeting was concluded short of 12:00pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Kevin Hennessy
BioEnergy Manager, Minnesota Department of Agriculture